One More Bump in the Road

First I fall off my bike and puncture my lung. Next, I’m being told “thanks, but no thanks,” in heading up an important workforce initiative.

I’ve been involved with the Maine Business Leadership Network for a year now. I was hired last August to serve as the first director of Maine’s only affiliate of the USBLN. I found out yesterday that the Maine State Chamber of Commerce isn’t “renewing my contract.” There are a number of things I could say; I’m certainly feeling a confluence of emotions, and having a variety of thoughts, some better not articulated at the moment. Apparently this is normal when you get kicked to the curb. I will say that I don’t feel like a year was a long enough period of time to prove the efficacy of what I was trying to do in leading the organization.  I’m sure some might disagree.

What I’m reminded of is that in the free agent economy, nothing is permanent. My previous gig with an organization, as an employee, lasted nearly six years. My most recent position was a freelance position; I was an independent contractor. That lasted 13 months. I was told that the decision had nothing to do with my performance.

I certainly didn’t do everything right, but I always gave more than I was asked to. From February through June, when we completed the first two of four planned regional employer forums, I routinely put in 10-12 hour days in order to complete my BLN tasks, while also maintaining outside freelance project work to pay my bills. That was an incredibly busy 5 month period.

I’m glad that I read Edwin Friedman’s eye-opening book about nonprofit leadership, and organizational behavior directed at leaders. I learned a lot from that book, and it drove home what one of my friends had been telling me about the kind of work I’ve been doing for the past seven years. I now know why there’s so much burnout in the nonprofit world. Here’s a great summary of Friedman’s work.

New things are on the horizon. I was reminded of this on Tuesday, when I met with a terrific group of prospective authors. Their energy boosted mine. I’m excited about our possibilities as a group, and new projects down the road for me, personally.

While things feel really raw today and I’ve been knocked down, I’ll get back up; just like I did with my bike. I’m like a cat—I land on my feet (except when I fall off my bike).


2 thoughts on “One More Bump in the Road

  1. That video clip points the way, Jim! Get a slicker haircut, the right suit, and work on those penetrating questions with unyielding stares–consultancy!

    Regrets for the MBLN position. Just think of yourself as being on the cutting edge of the Long Emergency. Throw yourself into the publishing project, see what’s on the other side.

  2. LP,

    Laughing about the “consultancy” comment.

    You are also very perceptive considering “the Long Emergency” and opportunities and maybe having some “space” to do some publishing.

    I have an incredible group of motivated writers in my Tuesday night class. I know something big is going to come out of the group, and I’ll learn a great deal from them–that’s why I love teaching writing–it gets me back to my own craft and DIY sensibilities. The BLN, while an honorable gig and one I threw myself into, not as much, although, if given the opportunity and support, could have developed some projects tying the two (publishing, employment, etc.) together. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out the way we would have scripted it for a Tee Vee movie.

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